Interview with GOP Up-and-Comer Sage Naumann

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Tonight the Carlsbad School Board will decide who gets to fill the vacancy left by Kelli Moors’ departure. Republican Sage Naumann has applied for the position. Here is a recent interview with Naumann.

Guest Column
by Michael Schwartz

Recently Sage Naumann, a Republican candidate for Carlsbad Unified School Board, made the news for pointing out that a current member of the Board (Kelli Moors) voted to extend a 6 figure contract to a law firm she took a job with just days after the vote. The story received enough coverage thanks to Sage that the Board decided to re-vote on the contract. It was no surprise to me that Sage was the only one to catch this or how much doing the right thing mattered to Sage.

I met Sage just over a year ago and have been impressed by his motivation to better his community schools and his character as a candidate. He is the kind of straight-forward, problem-solving new breed of Republican candidate who is more concerned doing what is right rather than his personal ambition.

September 16th the Carlsbad School Board will appoint a replacement for Ms. Moors. To support Sage and for more information on the appointment:

Here is Sage in his own words.

Q: Did you attend school in Carlsbad? What was your experience like?

Sage: My first Carlsbad school experience was with Principal Boone and his great staff of teachers at Magnolia Elementary.

I attended Magnolia Elementary, Aviara Oaks Elementary, Valley Middle, and then Carlsbad High, spending all but four years of my education in Carlsbad. I had a great overall experience, walked away with friends I’ll keep for life, skills that will light my path, and a pride in my district and my city. That’s a big reason I want to make sure that CUSD has balanced budgets and a sustainable future, so that we can give every child a quality education, and make sure that they walk away satisfied and ready to accomplish their life goals.

Q: What specifically about your personal political beliefs makes you a Republican?

Sage: I believe in smaller, efficient government. I believe that the free market should be considered the great equalizer, not the federal government. I believe that our debts must be kept at a reasonable level and paid off in due time. I believe in the unalienable rights that our forefathers transcribed into our founding documents.

I believe in this country. I believe in our constitution. I believe in the free market. It’s that simple.

Q: What was the main issue that made you decide to run for the Carlsbad school board?

Sage: New board leadership is needed, and I’ve consistently seen policies produced by the current board that are either fiscally irresponsible or simply self-destructive.

For example, look at the approaching opening of Sage Creek High School. It wasn’t the fact that the board wouldn’t delay the opening, but the fact that the board wouldn’t even welcome any discussion or compromise. Nobody expects five members to about-face and reverse their decisions, but the community does expect to be listened to, and the community does expect board members that will consider compromises that are reasonable.

The board expected to open the new high school with some 700 students, but we’ve opened it with just over 300. Should that not have prompted reconsideration or a change in strategy?

We need a board that is willing to communicate with the community, whether or not they agree with them. That simple fundamental principle of governance hasn’t been shown by the current board in recent years, and that’s a huge reason I’m a candidate today.

Q: What can you offer as a school board member?

Sage: The biggest assets I bring to the table are a new voice and a fresh perspective. We have five members who vote together one way or another, and discussion doesn’t seem to be very diverse. I’d like to think that my professional background, my ideology, my principles, and my personality can help make the CUSD board a bit less homogenous. There is a large portion of the Carlsbad population that isn’t being represented at those board meetings, and I plan to be a voice for them.

We also need to move away from the traditional method of approaching some of the issues we face as a community. The State of California has forced Carlsbad Unified into a tough, tough spot, and it’s going to require us to expand our minds and begin taking a different approach to these issues. I have some of those ideas, and I hope to develop more innovative methods with the other members once I get to the board.

Q: What differentiates you from the other members of the school board?

Sage: Simply put, I will listen to the people of Carlsbad. I want to speak with teachers in their classroom, parents in their homes, CEOs at their businesses, and council members at city hall. I value the input of the community, and want to change the mentality that “five members on a school board have all the answers”.

Q: If you could pass one policy or make one decision on the school board what would it be?

Sage: I’d have our district staff audit our facilities. If it hasn’t been done already, we need to get a firm grasp on how many classrooms are sitting unoccupied and how much taxpayer revenue is going to waste by letting them decay.

Much like we did with the sixteen empty classrooms at Magnolia Elementary, we need to lease out the classrooms we don’t have a clear use for, so that we may begin to generate revenue.

That being said, policies aren’t our issue. While I disagree with many (if not most) of the larger policy decisions our board has made, we have ideological issues at hand in Carlsbad Unified. We’ve gone off the beaten path and forgotten the values and principles that should be inherent in every decision we make as a school district, and taken our eye off the goal of providing a quality education for every child.

Instead, we’ve waged battles with the idea of a charter school, made deep cuts to the classroom, issued as many as 120 pink slips, and ignored our community. Those issues don’t require a change in policy, they require a change in attitude.

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Michael Schwartz is a Republican.